Birmingham Councillors have recently called for creative subjects to be added to the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) certificate.
Councillors claim children in Birmingham schools are missing out on a well rounded creative education. Creative subjects such as art, music and drama are particularly being downgraded in schools. Birmingham councillors argue that schools are sidelining these creative subjects as the EBacc only includes English, maths, science, languages and humanities GCSEs.
The EBacc was introduced in 2010, and researchers have found that since then, staffing and classes in creative subjects has been reduced. Many such teachers have also been made redundant in schools.
Teaching Magazine, TES, reports that 40% of schools had cut staffing in creative areas and 60% had fewer pupils taking art and design at GCSE since the EBacc was introduced. Despite this, the Department for Education have responded to TES claiming that schools studying the EBacc have not in fact seen a larger decline in the rate of pupils studying the arts.
A motion has been called by Councillors Liz Clements and Olly Armstrong, and approved by the Labour run council. They are working to encourage others to support the Department for Education to amend the EBacc. The aim is for the EBacc instead, to include at least one creative subject. Councillor Armstrong works in community arts, and claims creative subjects are ones which ‘cannot be measured easily’.
Councillor Clements also adds, ‘I think you need a broad education and a lot of children who have an aptitude for a creative subject’.
Recently, the Conservative opposition has defended the current EBacc. It raises standards in schools, and ‘Schools should provide a curriculum with an academically rigorous core for all. The EBacc provides that rigorous core, with scope around it’. They said that schools should instead encourage pupils to take up arts and creative subjects, without making it compulsory.